Thirst for Invention: Folding Solar Powered Water Purifier

When travelers are lost, stranded or in an emergency situation, one of the most difficult parts of waiting for help to arrive is finding fresh, potable water. Although tales abound of shipwreck victims finding novel sources of drinking water, there might be an easier way to stay alive if you ever find yourself in an emergency.

This design, called C-Water, by Chinese engineer Chao Gao uses a simple solar purification method to transform just about any source of water into potable liquid. With a readily available source of fresh water, survivors have a better chance of staying alive and relatively healthy until help arrives.

The design took second place in the recent Incheon International Design Awards. The ingenious design requires only that the foldable device be placed on the ground or directly on the water. Water vapor collects in the chamber and is purified solar rays. A batch of clean, drinkable water is ready in just shy of two days.

The C-Water is lightweight and small enough when compressed to be carried on life boats or in backpacks. Its innovative design could easily be applied to places where clean drinking water is scarce, or even used in disaster relief efforts to keep refugees and survivors healthy until permanent living situations are arranged.

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See more in Industrial Design or under Technology. December, 2010.
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